To conduct the study, researchers carried out extensive modeling and experiments where they proved that a 2- to 3-centimeter-thick shield of silica aerogel is capable of transmitting enough visible light for photosynthesis. The interesting thing about frozen Carbon dioxide is that it allows sunlight to pass through while trapping heat, creating a sort of greenhouse effect during the summer, allowing warm pockets to form.
"This regional approach to making Mars habitable is much more achievable than global atmospheric modification", Robin Wordsworth of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Department of Earth and Planetary Science said in a statement. However, it's unfeasible to warm a whole planet this way-previous outcomes have already proven that there isn't sufficient carbon dioxide on Mars to terraform it with at present's technology.
Scientists at NASA's jet propulsion lab in Pasadena say Mars is the most habitable planet in our solar system besides Earth.
If we look at the kind of atmosphere that exists within Mars, it's impossible to imagine a life there given the low temperature and high ultraviolet radiation levels.
"We started thinking about this solid-state greenhouse effect and how it could be invoked for creating habitable environments on Mars in the future". They created a material that can support life on Mars by causing regional temperature changes that cause water to be sustained in its liquid state. In order to make the planet more bearable, some have even proposed extreme solutions such as terraforming Mars. His proposal included vaporizing the northern Martian polar ice caps to add to Mars' thin atmosphere and increase temperatures through the greenhouse gas effect, which would also allow for liquid water on the planet.
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The study is titled "Enabling Martian habitability with silica aerogel via the solid-state greenhouse effect" and has been published in Nature Astronomy.
So, rather than terraforming an entire planet - something which is physically impossible with today's technology - this approach essentially involves terraforming just a small, manageable patch of Mars. It wouldn't require large amounts of energy to keep an area warm over long periods of time, according to Kerber. One of the most resounding is the idea that all photos taken by Curiosity were actually taken not on Mars but on Earth. Just like the Earth, Mars has polar ice caps as well.
Of course, there are still many engineering challenges that need to be addressed.
Silica aerogels which are 97 percent porous, allow light to move through it, but also interconnects nanolayers of silicon dioxide infrared radiation and slows conduction of heat.
Wordsworth also points out that there are ethical considerations when building habitats on Mars. If there is, how do we navigate that.
Moving forward, the team aims to test the material in Mars-like climates on Earth, including the dry valleys of Antarctica or Chile.